Get your WFH hustle on, but remember to keep your doshas in balance!
Whether out of genuine curiosity, or boredom, we’ve all taken those quizzes to find out what our Ayurvedic constitution type might be. (If you haven’t, take it here). This is usually followed by a list of recommendations around food habits, which everyone almost always ignores. Still, it is a good topic for discussion. An advanced and more mature version of ‘Which sun-sign are you?” is “What is your Ayurvedic type?”, followed by a “Let me guess.You’re probably a…” Real Ayurveda practitioners would check your pulse and ask you multiple questions before arriving at that answer, but why should that stop people from having a little fun with it?
Last year, however, I started getting frequent migraines. OTC medication would control the pain but it would keep coming back. That was when I took Ayurveda seriously for the first time. Not only did I go through a detoxification course, but I also started reading more about it, because I found that it worked for my body.The more I read, the more sense it made.
Through it, I learnt to observe how connected my mind and body were. My constitution type affected more than just my physical health and my body. Ayurveda seemed to have a window into how my mind worked, into my core strengths and weaknesses, even into who I was.
The word for the Ayurvedic types is prakriti, which means nature, both internal and external. Needless to say, I was hooked. It became a many layered thing, revealing its beauty, its connection to language, to nature and to our everyday energy patterns. I was also unemployed at this time, so I had all the time in the world to marvel at these connections while trying to say ‘padhyashadangam kwath’ in one breath. Not everyone will have this privilege, so here is a fun little extrapolation on how your Ayurvedic type reflects in your working style.
Vata (Air) type:
You are a fast thinker, enthusiastic about new ideas. You bring immense mental agility to your work.
You adapt well to new situations, and are known for being flexible in your ideas and responses to situations at work. You are great at starting new things, but you can sometimes lack the endurance to finish a task, wearing out easily.
Because you are so enthusiastic, you can over promise. You operate in bursts of energy, which are often inconsistent. Anxiety is your primary response to things not going well, and you can worry a lot about the future if you don’t practice being in the moment. You are a great communicator, good at writing and organising data, and also very creative.
Pace yourself. An equanimous attitude will go a long way in ensuring that you optimise your energy and not get carried away with new ideas. Use your bursts of energy to get difficult work out of the way. Cultivate a routine. Remember to breathe mindfully and eat your meals on time, even at work.
Also ensure that you eat multiple small meals and carry snacks. Don’t go hungry for long. Warm soups and nourishing stews are good for you. Find five minutes every now and then to be alone, ground yourself and relax.
Office AC setting
Inconsistent. Mostly it is too cold for you, but sometimes you can feel hot suddenly.
You get your work done in sudden bursts of energy and then feel tempted to just laze around and do nothing. Without other people to pace you, your way of working can be erratic.
Organise. Don’t jump from one idea or project to another. Be aware that you will get distracted easily, i.e. find yourself baking cookies when you should be finishing that presentation. Set aside time for one task and complete it. Not having a proper routine can put you in a disarray, and lead to disturbed sleep patterns. Ensure you go to bed and wake up at the same time. And please, please exercise digital discipline.
Pitta (Fire) type:
You have high standards and expect people to work as hard as you do, and while you may be critical of your team members, you will always defend them in front of outsiders.
Pitta types make enthusiastic and fiery leaders, who can inspire everyone with their vision. You are reasonable and perceptive, but can often be impatient and quick to anger.
You may not show it, but Pitta types are also highly critical of themselves, and have to learn to be kinder to their own selves as well. Excess Pitta qualities can make you competitive and overly ambitious, and sometimes you have to learn how to lose gracefully. You have a sustained stamina and strong determination, and can be a great crusader for justice. Your discipline is your strength.
Try to see things from other people’s point of view. Remember to take a break every now and then, so that you can cool down. Don’t react in anger and be patient with other people. Stay away from arguments and don’t impose your opinion on other people. Don’t push yourself too hard or you can end up with burnout.
Office AC setting
Cool. You feel hot and sweat easily.
You will use this time to get focused work done and out of the way, which is something you are good at. You will find constant internet issues very annoying and are bound to get upset if people don’t respond when you want them to.
Not being able to see people around you will put you somewhat on edge, but it is a good time to structure, develop processes around tasks and communicate clearly. Be gentle with yourself if you are not able to be as productive as you’d like to be. You have a good appetite and will enjoy having warm home food while you are at it.
Kapha (Earth and Water) type:
You are the person people in office come to when they are seeking comfort and calm. You are a solid co-worker, very reliable.
You have the gift of perseverance and steady execution, and while your pace may sometimes seem slow to others, everything you do is well thought through and thorough. You are great at creating structures and processes and you can slowly but surely power through great obstacles.
However, you dislike change and can be resistant to new ideas, which can make you stagnate at work. Your qualities of empathy, devotion and nurturance help you be a people’s person and a compassionate leader.
You can spend too long sitting on your desk and need to move more, even at work. Take breaks and go for short walks. Don’t binge eat and stay away from sweets. Embrace change while making sure you communicate your needs. You can get too emotionally attached to people and situations, so make sure to hold things lightly and give everyone space to breathe.
Office AC setting
Medium. You feel cold easily and can be prone to congestion if the AC is too cold.
You are most likely to fall asleep if you work on the bed, so resist the temptation. Also, resist the temptation to keep munching and snacking while working.
You can feel lonely and disconnected while working from home, so ensure that you are reaching out and talking to people about things other than work. And while you may feel a strong need to make sure that everyone at home is taken care of, create your boundaries around work and personal time and stick to them. With your perseverance, you can get a lot done as you work from home.
If you are a combination type also read the types below in addition to the ones above:
Vata-Pitta combination type:
What happens when fire and air come together? A bright flame, full of ideas, curious and sharp, but prone to burning out quickly.
You just might be the one everyone looks to for amazing insights and brilliant ideas, but that also means that you put a lot of pressure on yourself, and don’t ration your energy.
You are high strung, and if you don’t pace yourself, you could go from periods of extreme hard work to those where you feel too exhausted to do anything else. Stress and anxiety can easily cause headaches and inflammation, so taking time out for yourself regularly is key. Don’t over commit to projects or people, even though you are passionate about seeing things succeed.
Top tip: Never skip breakfast. Ever.
Vata-Kapha combination type:
Can you relate to those times when your mind is highly active but your body just won’t move? Welcome to the Vata-Kapha world, the world of earth and air.
When in balance, you are that person who has both the vision to see new ideas and the stability and persistence to be able to execute them. You are able to combine efficiency and quickness with stability, so you can work on complex projects with ease.
You can however, be emotionally sensitive and can easily go off on an emotional roller coaster, so it is important that you stay aware of your feelings and process them as they come up, through physical expression, exercise, or movement. You can also be an over thinker who will try to look at all possible angles, which is sometimes necessary, but can also be exhausting.
Top tip: Don’t say yes when you want to say no.
Pitta-Kapha combination type:
You are good at problem solving, and you thrive on competition, which gives you the ability to succeed in business.
You are strong and resilient, determined and focused, with the stamina to keep going. This makes you a great natural leader, and you can be assertive without being unempathetic.
You are ambitious with the capacity to work hard and fulfil your ambitions. Be wary of becoming too much of a perfectionist, or of being overly critical of yourself or others. Because you are naturally healthy, you may overindulge in food and drink, so watch what you eat.
Top tip: Learn to let go of things you can’t control.
There you go! In a nutshell, your working style according to Ayurveda! Remember that our ‘types’ change as we go through life, and our prakriti can change, as we change. The ultimate aim, even in Ayurveda, is to not be controlled by your tendencies, but to work with them, for the good of all. That’s very lofty sounding, so let’s just say, may the force (and prana) be with you!